With the Indian government backing the growth of digital marketing in the country, we’re looking at an unprecedented boom in the industry. While the potential for growth is immense, what’s worrying marketers and brands alike is the fact that we don’t have a workforce that’s prepared to solve the challenges we’re going to face.
To achieve success of any measure in digital marketing, we need people who are creative, quick-thinking and quick-witted, willing to take the initiative to lead change, “get” social media, i.e. we need people who have an intuitive feel for social networks and are able happily marry their personality traits with a very real need for data analysis and research. In other words, organizations need people with “just-in-time” skills.
. It’s no surprise that the most coveted skills in any sector are related to technology, creative thinking and analysis, communication and problem-solving.Yes, problem-solving is a real skill and one that is not imparted often to the Indian populace institutionally.
According to a report released by Accenture, “all across businesses, people need to add technology and problem solving skills to their existing skill sets.”
Although Accenture focused their study on a few set industries like hospitality, automotive and IT, the results of their study are indicative of a similar skills gap for digital marketing. It’s no secret that the lines between content marketing, social media marketing and Search Engine Optimization are blurring quite rapidly, and we need people who’ll be able to provide better services and add value for their employers and their clients.
So how do you become the person that everyone wants? With all my time in the digital marketing industry, I can honestly say that when we’re hiring people, we need to look at them holistically instead of focusing on specific skill sets. And through all my client interaction and experience in recruiting, I’ve gained a little knowledge that I’d like to share with you.
Here’s what I’ve learned.
1. Be Different. If ever there was a time when an individual’s unique characteristics could add immense value, it’s right now. Be the person who isn’t afraid to try new things. Read. Gain exposure. Travel.Try different cuisines. Believe me, the wider your horizon of experiences, the better you’ll be able to:
o Add immediate value with a difference perspective,
o Think creatively,
o Solve problems, and most importantly,
o Adapt to change
2. Play a LOT on Social Networks. As I said earlier, the lines between SEO, social marketing and content marketing have blurred rapidly, therefore being able to build and sustain relationships with an online (and on-ground) community is an essential skill to have, especially if you’re going to work in a digital marketing environment. Don’t just spend a lot of time posting to social networks; observe how people interact there. Spend time understanding what makes a group of people come together and talk to each other. What makes them talk? What makes them think? How do you create memorable and sustainable experiences for your audience? It’s all really good food for thought.
3. Develop Interests Outside of your Immediate Curricular Pursuits. You love SEO? That’s great.But spend some time understanding how to talk to people on social media. Have an interest in Accounting? Delve a little closer into writing about it. You don’t find yourself being the person who brings new ideas? Read more, study ad campaigns, find a brand you love and analyse all their activities to death. It’s one of the key ways in which you can take responsibility for your own growth,and subsequently, the growth of your organization.
4. Get Great at Language. Nothing will help you connect with a community better than being able to speak in their language. And to do that, you need to have stellar language skills of your own. Fall in love with language and commit yourself to fine-tuning your communication skills, i.e. reading, writing and analytical skills. This is doesn’t mean you only need to excel at English. Right now, there’s huge potential in India for marketers to connect digitally with people in rural areas, which means, there’s a strong focus on leveraging the vernacular. Your job is to figure out how you’re going to develop expertise in any given language.
5. Develop Your Listening Skills. We’re living in times when the definition of a customer changes pretty rapidly. And with that definition, a customer’s expectation changes just as rapidly. Before you find yourself unleashing a tirade against unrealistic client expectations, take a moment to think. Aren’t you someone’s client yourself? How would you expect to be treated? And isn’t it about time you began treating your clients the same way? In your constantly evolving career, it’s imperative for you to learn how to provide stellar customer service at all times and you can’t do that until you listen more and talk less.
6. Take the Lead. If you think you have a great idea, do you have it in you to take ownership of the idea and ensuring that the change you want to see takes place? Can you willingly ask for better projects? The ethos that guides positive change is that if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem. It’s always up to you to decide how you’re going to shape your experience.
I realize you may not have found the content you were expecting to read in this post; but I’d like to show you a different side of the coin today. I genuinely believe that organizations that develop a competitive edge get to that point through holistic considerations and choose their team very carefully